Best Off-Road Trucks Of All Time

We dive into history and look back at some of the best off-road pickup trucks for all-terrain adventures

Front 3/4 shot of the 2010 Ford SVT F-150 Raptor R flying through the air

Off-roading enthusiasts have long held a special warm place in their hearts for trucks, and over the years certain trucks have achieved legendary status for their unparalleled off-road capabilities. While SUVs have somewhat dominated the landscape, certain trucks have pushed their way into the hearts of off-roaders. Delving into treacherous terrain and rugged trails is a daunting task, one that requires unwavering nerves and a beastly machine.

From timeless classics to new technology-packed behemoths, the history of off-roading trucks is filled with models that transcend the boundaries of ordinary four-wheel drive vehicles. These beasts have utilized cutting-edge technology and pure grit to conquer mother nature for decades, whether it be on the rock-strewn landscape of Moab or the unforgiving deserts of the Sahara.

The evolution of off-roading trucks is a tale of innovation, engineering brilliance, and sheer power of will. Our journey through time explores and celebrates some of the most legendary off-roading vehicles of all time. We pay homage to classics as well as marvel at modern wonders, reliving what made them so special and the mark that they have left along the trails that they have conquered.

This article on the best off-roading trucks throughout history sourced specifications from automaker press releases, MotorTrend as well and AutoData. The models in this list have been arranged based on when they were first released.

10 International Harvester Scout

Production Years: 1961 – 1980

Front 3/4 shot of a line of 1971 International Harvester Scout II
Thomas Vogt Via Wikimedia Commons

International Harvester is not a brand that most people have heard of, but the Scout blazed a trail for the success of the many off-road vehicles that came after it. The Scout went through several evolutions over its lifetime and each was as capable and brave as the last. It came in SUV and pickup body styles.

Scout II Specifications

5.7-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8
Horsepower151 HP
Torque285 lb-ft

(Specifications sourced from MotorTrend)

The Scout was designed to take on the legendary Willys Jeep and it did so with gusto. International Harvester shook up industry standards, from construction materials to body structure it was revolutionary. It also may be up for a revival with Volkswagen at the helm.

9 Toyota Hilux/Pickup

Production years: 1968 – Present

Front 3/4 shot of the 1968 Toyota Hilux

Known more widely in the U.S. market as the Toyota Pickup, the Hilux has been a stalwart of off-roading all around the world. It was sold in North America up until 1995 when it was replaced by the Toyota Tacoma. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has continued to enjoy this incredibly sturdy workhorse.


1995 2.8 Diesel Inline-Four2020 2.8 Diesel Inline-Four
Horsepower91 HP204 HP
Torque139 lb-ft369 lb-ft
Approach/Departure Angle30°/24°29°/26°
Towing Capacity3300 lb7700 lb
Ground Clearance7.4 inches12 inches
DrivetrainRWD or AWDRWD or AWD

(Specifications sourced from Toyota)

The Toyota Hilux Pickup has been a strong off-road contender since its inception. It may not have always had the most amount of horsepower or torque, but it is considered to be one of the sturdiest trucks that you can buy, and reliability is king on the trail. Buying a used Toyota Pickup is a great way to get started with off-roading. Looking at models still sold outside the U.S., hopefully, the nameplate will be brought back to North America sometime in the future.

8 Lamborghini LM002

Production Years: 1986 – 1993

Black Lamborghini LM002

The Urus turned a lot of heads as a departure for the Italian automaker, known for their hand-built supercars, but it wasn’t the first of its kind. The LM002, aka the “Rambo Lambo”, launched in the mid-80s and was one of the strangest but most interesting cars the company has ever produced.


5.2-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-12
Horsepower450 HP
Torque369 lb-ft
Approach/Departure Angle30°/45°
Towing Capacity5000 lb
Ground Clearance8 inches

(Specifications sourced from AutoData)

The Lamborghini LM002 was based on two previous prototypes that were intended for military use, the LM001 and the Cheetah. This meant that the Rambo Lambo was rugged and capable of navigating any terrain. It also housed a V-12 engine pulled from the Countach and innovative off-road features, such as custom Pirelli run-flat tires that could also withstand high temperatures.

7 Toyota Tacoma

Production Years: 1995 – Present

Silver 1996 Toyota Tacoma

It is impossible to talk about the best of the best in terms of off-roading without Toyota cutting. For Tacoma’s long lifespan, it has consistently been a top performer in the mid-size pickup category and the off-roading community. The current generation may not live up to the legacy, but older models truly embody everything a fun off-road vehicle should be.


3.4-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6
Horsepower190 HP
Torque220 lb-ft
Max Towing Capacity6700 lb
Ground Clearance8.1 inches
Driveline2WD or 4WD

(Specifications sourced from Toyota)

Toyota’s ruggedness and reliability made the Tacoma one of the greatest pick-up trucks for hitting the trail. Modern-day Tacomas get outclassed by the competition but picking up an old first or second-generation model for cheap and throwing it around is some of the most fun you can have.

6 Nissan Frontier

Production Years: 1997 – Present

2023 Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier has been a contender in the off-road pickup truck segment since the late nineties and every iteration has been a more than capable workhorse. It was brought about in 1997 to replace the Nissan Hardbody and has since evolved into one hell of an off-road vehicle.


3.8-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6
Horsepower310 HP
Torque281 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle32.3°/23°/19.6°
Max Towing Capacity6180 lb
Ground Clearance8.6 inches

(Specifications sourced from Toyota)

The Frontier is one of the few modern trucks to still sport a V-6 engine, sticking to its roots instead of going hybrid. The Pro4x is the current top trim of the truck and sports Bilstein off-road shocks and an electronic locking differential. The Frontier nameplate has proven itself over its lifetime as one of the most capable trucks on the market.

5 Hummer H3T

Production Years: 2009 – 2010

A front 3/4 shot of the 2009 Hummer H3T Alpha conquering rocky terrain

Hummer is a name that brings to mind the cawing of eagles and the roaring of thunder thanks to the legendary H1. While the H3 is scaled down from the H1 and H2 predecessors, it is still one of the most capable off-road vehicles to ever exist. The H3T was a limited-run variant that turned the legendary SUV into a mid-size pickup.


5.3-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8
Horsepower305 HP
Torque320 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle37.1°/30.9°/19°
Max Towing Capacity4400 lb
Ground Clearance9.5 inches

(Specifications sourced from AutoData)

The H3T featured all the same trim levels as the regular H3 as well as including a 5-foot truck bed with built-in storage containers. According to Motor Trend, it had an uncomfortable turning radius and didn’t perform well on the highway but it conquered terrain better than anything on the market.

4 Ford F-150 Raptor

Production Years: 2010 – Present

Rear shot of the 2010 Ford SVT F-150 Raptor R kicking up dirt

The Ford F-150 Raptor is one of the most well-known off-road trucks on the market today. Its legacy started in 2010 with the SVT Raptor, which was made in contrast to the road racing SVT Lightning and was revolutionary for the off-roading pickup segment.


6.2-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8
Horsepower411 HP
Torque434 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle30.3°/22.8°/21.1°
Max Towing Capacity8000 lb
Ground Clearance11.2 inches

(Specifications sourced from Ford)

Ford SVT made the Raptor the ultimate off-road vehicle, including features like Fox Racing internal bypass shocks and a Torsen helical gear limited slip differential. The modern F-150 Raptor has evolved from this brilliant starting point and become one of the most sophisticated off-road vehicles on the market.

3 RAM Heavy Duty

Production Years: 2010 – Present

Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel

In terms of modern trucks, it is harder to get better than the RAM Heavy Duty. If you want the most power, the biggest towing capacity, and the most amount of general features then it is near impossible to do better than the Heavy Duty.


6.4-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8
Horsepower410 HP
Torque429 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle20.6°/24.4°/23.2°
Max Towing Capacity14760 lb
Ground Clearance12.3 inches

(Specifications sourced from RAM)

The Heavy Duty is one of the best performers on the market in 2023. It has a choice between petrol and diesel engines but if you’re looking for towing capacity the diesel is the best choice, with a maximum towing capacity of 19,980 pounds. The Power Wagon and Rebel trims are perfect for off-roading and equip the Heavy Duty with skid plates, off-road tires, bolstered suspension, and a bunch of other equipment that make it a behemoth for Overlanding.

2 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Production Years: 2017 – Present

2023 blue Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Chevrolet’s Regular Production Option (RPO) ZR2 has been around since the 1994 S-10 and has been turning Chevy cars into off-roading monsters. The Colorado, which has been around since 2004, only received a dedicated ZR2 treatment in 2017, with tons of new features designed specifically for the mid-size pickup.


2.7-Liter Turbocharged Inline-4
Horsepower237 HP
Torque260 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle38.2°/26°/26.9°
Max Towing Capacity3500 lb
Ground Clearance7.9 inches

(Specifications sourced from Chevrolet)

The ZR2 treatment has taken Colorado to the next level, increasing its track width by 3.5 inches, its ride height by two inches, improved entry and departure angles, and a ton of tech designed for the trail. The Colorado ZR2 has proven itself so capable that it has been heavily integrated into military applications, such as the Infantry Squad Vehicle which uses 90 percent of the Colorado ZR2’s off-the-shelf parts.

1 Jeep Gladiator

Production Years: 2019 – Present

Grey Jeep Gladiator Sandrunner
Jeep Media

Jeep has been one of the top players in the off-roading market since its inception, with icons like the CJ and the Wrangler blazing trails. In 2018 Jeep decided to break back into the pickup truck segment with the Jeep Gladiator which is the company’s first pickup since the Comanche in 1992.


3.6-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6
Horsepower285 HP
Torque260 lb-ft
Approach/Departure/Breakover Angle42.4°/26°/20.3°
Max Towing Capacity7700 lb
Ground Clearance11.1 inches

(Specifications sourced from Jeep)